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Yankees sweep series from listless Cardinals 4.16.17

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Anemic pitching, offense, and defense on full display in route. Baserunning was fine.

MLB: St. Louis Cardinals at New York Yankees Andy Marlin-USA TODAY Sports

The Cardinals entered tonight’s game in bad shape.

The pitching has seen a downturn. Cardinals starters averaged a Game Score of 65 in their first trip through the rotation, but then averaged just 43 on their second time around. In addition to the starters’ regression, the relief corps has allowed at least 1 baserunner in 76% of their chances, and at least 1 run in 39% of their chances.

The offense has it’s own set of issues. Cardinal batters haven proven to be some of the most punch-less in baseball in the early goings, achieving a .142 ISO that ties them with the Padres and Brewers for 7th-worst in baseball. To make matters worse, Cardinal hitters have actually been among the most fortunate on batted balls, with their .303 BABIP tying them for 9th-most-fortunate.

And finally, the defense that was a point of emphasis in the off-season has been poor. Cardinal regulars Adams, Carpenter, Peralta, & Grichuk are playing positions to which they aren’t fully accustomed. To make matters worse, experienced defenders are making mistakes of their own, as Molina, Wong, & Diaz have significantly contributed to the Cardinals committing the 6th most errors in baseball.

These problems, amongst others, have led the Cardinals to their current 3-8 record, and will need to be fixed if the team is to have any hope of living up to expectations.

Match-up

Adam Wainwright (0-2, 7.00 ERA, 9/4 K/BB)

Michael Pineda (1-1, 3.97 ERA, 17/0 K/BB)

Lineup

Events

1st Inning

Fowler began the game by striking out on 3 straight pitches. Aledmys Diaz followed that up with an early-count line-out to center field. After Matt Carpenter worked a walk and Stephen Piscotty reached on a bunt, Adams struck out to end the threat.

Wainwright came out firing bullets. He struck out Gardner on a curveball, then got Hicks to ground out sharply to Carpenter. After Starlin Castro ripped a hanging curveball for a single to left, Wainwright retired Ellsbury on a harmless fly to left.

2nd Inning

Jedd Gyorko managed a one-out jam-shot into no-man’s-land behind in short left to start the rally. Grichuk advanced Gyorko to 2nd base with a soft tap back to Pineda, and Greg Garcia ripped a line drive to left field, scoring Gyorko. Dexter Fowler added a liner just over the 2nd baseman’s glove for a much-needed hit that put another runner in scoring position, but Diaz flew out to center field again. 1-0 Cardinals.

Chase Headley knocked a lead off single up the middle, and Aaron Judge crushed what should have been a 2-run home run, but a fan was ruled to have reached over the wall and interfered with the play. After replay review scored Headley and placed Judge at 3rd, Greg Bird launched the first pitch he saw deep into right field seats for a 2-run home run. After allowing another single to Romine, Wainwright was able to coax a 4-6-3 double play off the bat of Ronald Torreyes, then strike out Gardner. 3-1 Yankees.

3rd Inning

Carpenter ripped a ball to the right side to start the inning, but Starling Castro made a sleek backhanded grab to retire the Cardinals first baseman. Piscotty and Adams followed with fly outs to center.

After Hicks singled to left to start the 3rd, Wainwright struck out Castro with a cutter. Then Wainwright struck out Ellsbury on a good low-and-away fastball, and Molina threw out Hicks attempting to steal 2nd.

4th Inning

Pineda had a breezy 4th inning, striking out Molina and Grichuk, and retiring Gyorko on a ground out.

Wainwright walked the lead-off hitter Headley, but erased him with a 6-4-3 GIDP off the bat of Judge. Bird, who had been struggling coming into tonight’s game, ripped a double into the right field corner and Romine walked, but Torreyes grounded into a fielder’s choice to end the inning.

5th Inning

Greg Garcia continued to shine as one of the few offensive bright spots, and singled through the right side to lead off the 5th. However, Fowler struck out and Diaz grounded into a 1-4-3 double play.

Wainwright retired Gardner a third time to start the 5th, but Aaron Hicks turned a cutter in on his hands into a tall fly ball that wrapped around the right field foul pole for another Yankee home run. After Castro singled to left, rain began to pour and Matt Bowman began to warm in the bullpen. Wainwright made a good play on an Ellsbury come-backer to retire the lead runner, but Wainwright was finally done after Headley managed another single to right. Bowman entered and struck out Judge to end the threat. 4-1 Yankees.

6th Inning

Carpenter flew out to left and Piscotty flew out to dead center on a pair of harmless fly balls. Adams ended the frame quickly with a ground out to third. Pineda was in full control, and had still only thrown 78 pitches.

Greg Bird, suddenly on fire, led off with a walk against Bowman. Romine followed with a tailor-made double play that Garcia botched, and was only able to retire the lead runner. Torreyes then launched a ball into the left-center field gap that seemed destined for extra bases until Dexter Fowler threw up his glove at the last second to make a sensational catch.

7th Inning

Yadier Molina slowed his bat down and launched an 0-2 Pineda slider into the seats in left to reignite the Cardinals offense. Just kidding. Gyorko struck out, Grichuk popped out to first, and Garcia grounded out to second, as Pineda re-assumed control with his mid-nineties fastball. 4-2 Yankees.

As the rain resumed, Kevin Siegrist entered, and navigated a very strange inning. He walked Hicks, then fired a couple questionable pick-off throws to first. But then he got in on the hands of Castro and shattered his bat, causing him to fline out to 1st, where Carpenter was able to beat Hicks to the bag for an unassisted double play. Siegrist then walked Ellsbury, but picked him off to end the frame.

8th Inning

Dellin Betances entered and quickly retired Fowler and Diaz on an infield pop-out and ground-out to third. But Matt Carpenter singled through the shift where the shortstop would normally be positioned, and Piscotty drew a walk to put the tying runs on base. However, Matt Adams struck out on 3 pitches to end the threat.

Miguel Socolovich entered only to walk Headley and Judge to start the Yankees’ 8th. Greg Bird then took an 0-2 change-up into right field to load the bases with nobody out. Romine, who was guarding against Socolovich’s signature off-speed pitch, grounded a 2-run single through the right side. Torreyes then socked a ground-rule double to left, and the route was on. Socolovich was replaced with Brett Cecil, who got Gardner to ground out, and got Hicks and Castro to fly out, the first of which scored Torreyes. 9-2 Yankees.

9th Inning

Eric Fryer never says die, and led off the 9th with a double down the right field line off Bryan Mitchell, and then advanced to 3rd on a wild pitch. Gyorko walked ahead of Grichuk, who scorched a groundball at Yankee 3rd baseman Torreyes, whose throw to 2nd was in the dirt. Castro couldn’t corral it, and Fryer scored. But Mitchell recovered to strike out Garcia and retire Fowler on a looping fly ball to shallow left. Diaz then flew out to left to end the game. 9-3 Yankees win.

Final Lines

Wainwright: 4.2IP, 10H, 4ER, 4K, 2BB; 24 Game Score

Pineda: 7IP, 6H, 2ER, 6K, 1BB; 62 Game Score

Notes

  • Stephen Piscotty attempted 2 bunts in the top of the first, the second of which was successfully pushed to the right side, past the pitcher, and the first baseman had no one to throw to.
  • Matt Carpenter took a sharp ground ball off the tip of his throwing middle finger that bent the nail back and caused quite a bit of bleeding. He stayed in the game.
  • Aaron Judge’s double in the 2nd should have been a home run. The ball was going out anyway, and no defenders had a chance to make a play. The ruling on the field was interference, however, and ESPN only had 1 angle for officials to review, so the call on the field was upheld.
  • A second fan interfered with a foul ball down the left field line in the 8th, though it was again questionable whether it should have been called interference, as Piscotty did not have a chance to make the play and the ball was foul.
  • Why is there always so much trash on field in New York?
  • Greg Garcia did not appear to ever have control of the ball on his botched double play turn in the 6th. Both runners should have been safe, but Girardi did not challenge.
  • The Cardinals turned 4 double plays, and should have had a 5th.
  • The Yankees are now 6-0 at home. The Cardinals are not.

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